My Thoughts on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Season 1

7/8/2022 8:19 am |

Spoilers: This will contain minor spoilers for the show, I believe none of them will ruin any of the show's story but your opinion may vary if you choose to watch.

I just finished watching the finale of Season 1 of Strange New Worlds and I am left feeling re-confirmed of something which I had realized midway through this first season: This is my favorite Star Trek show. It feels almost treasonous for me to admit this; having so deeply ingrained Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard as an embodiment of good and ethics during the afternoons watching The Next Generation in my formative years.

The premise of Strange New Worlds is clever. It plays on something that big Trek fans understand, but which can be invisible or glossed over for new fans. In The Original Series, the pilot episode featured a cast which looked markedly different from the cast they settled on for the series. Basically the only character from the Pilot which returned in the main series was Spock, who since went on to be one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture.

Strange New Worlds sets up with a premise that I had mistakenly believed was a spin on the en vogue "What If" format which we have seen in other shows and most recently in Marvel's playbook. I had thought this was meant to be what if Pike had fully captained the Enterprise instead of Kirk. My friends have since informed me that I misunderstood and that this show is instead meant to be a prequel to The Original Series, taking place ten years before.

In the show, Anson Mount reprises his role as Captain Pike, having initially played him as part of Star Trek: Discovery. He is one of the excellent members of the cast, but is far from the lone standout.

They carry forward a few key aspects of the crew from that early pilot episode: Spock is still here. Also Pike's "Number 1" is a woman, this time played by Rebecca Romijn. They expand the cast for much needed not-white-dude diversity. And they bring one other character from Kirk's cast in The Original Series: Nyota Uhura, though not in exactly the same role. She joins the crew as an ensign and is utilized in a quasi-mcguffin role as she works in various roles on the ship to learn how they function (and as a result, show her skills.)

I started watching the show initially out of casual interest, having found Discovery not quite to my taste I was hopeful for a new Trek to come to. And, at first, I wasn't sure what they were doing with this one.

There is a premise revealed in the early episodes that initially felt a bit too mystical but that they handled deftly through the season as the underlying plot device. They reveal that Captain Pike has seen a tragedy in his future, one where a number of others would be killed and he would badly injured. Its initial revelation is done almost in passing as a "here's my character quirk" but which, as the season goes on, moves more central.

The show delves into Star Trek lore and fleshes out a few things which have not been deeply known, often adding more body to things which could be seen purely as campy television from previous shows.

I truly am delighted by how much I loved the season. I haven't loved a Star Trek TV show like this in a long time. I enjoyed Lower Decks, but that is more as a sitcom than as a Star Trek show. I was disappointed and let down by Picard. Discovery wasn't my thing. So, being able to settle back into a Star Trek feels wonderful.

If you haven't checked out Strange New Worlds yet, please do, it is available on Paramount+. And for those of you loathe to commit to a new show without more coming, you can rest assured, they have already greenlit season 2. No word on release date, but I'm satisfied just knowing it's coming.

Edited - 1:47pm - Corrected a misunderstanding of mine in regards to the framing of the show and the details around Captain Pike's plot.

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